A Lithuanian startup is collecting real-time data during radiotherapy to inform doctors and support them in making better treatment decisions. They see a future, where data will enable more accurate cancer treatments, with this data collection starting in the patients’ homes. All are enabled by advanced healthcare data analytics.
BrachyDOSE helps to prevent the most common treatment errors occurring in radiotherapy procedures by collecting 10X more data than existing solutions in practice. This enhanced data support doctors to make more informed decisions on further cancer patient treatments. The lack of real-time radiation dose data measured in patients creates treatment uncertainties. As a result, it may also increase the risk of wounding the patient, treatment expenses as well as radiologists’ time and resources.
An interview with BrachyDOSE’s co-founder and CEO, Neringa Šeperienė helps us learn more about how they are transforming the standard of care with the power of data and analytics.
How do you apply data analytics in your solution?
We measure the radiation dose applied to a patient during the treatment and collect data from the radiotherapy treatment plan. We use descriptive and predictive analytics to show measured values and make optimal radiation doses more accurate.
How do you prevent up to 100% errors in radiotherapy?
We measure radiation dose values in vivo and relay them to medical physicists and oncologists to see what happened during the procedure and to compare those values to the planned treatment road. This way medical professionals may prevent over and under irradiation.
Moreover, we collect data from the treated organs (i.e. bladder) which can tell if there are likely to be any complications after the treatment. This information helps oncologists to adjust the treatment accordingly and minimise the patients’ pain.
Where do you see its wider applications?
While this version is made for high dose rate brachytherapy we plan to scale it to external radiotherapy applications. Also, the solution could be applicable in complex clinical trials where adverse radiotherapy treatment effects are studied.
BrachyDOSE is a hardware solution, operating with a data management system. We see the need for such radiation dose measurement devices for dosimetry laboratories, research institutes and universities.
How do you think data and analytics could improve cancer care in the future?
Healthcare data analytics broadens the perspectives of cancer treatments. It will make cancer treatment more accurate and effective. These days we can measure and collect a significant amount of personal cancer patient data. We just need better tools to analyse it faster and the know-how to apply it for everyday operations. Our vision is that data measured by patients at home will be as commonplace as data collected in healthcare institutions by medical professionals.
The health data that pharmaceuticals and biotech companies are collecting is growing exponentially. What changes will the increased amount of data bring?
It brings a few challenges. First of all the challenge of personal data safety and safe transfer between healthcare institutions, countries, and continents. Secondly, the huge amount of data sets that need to be analysed efficiently and used in everyday practice. Finally, if we don’t use this collected data efficiently, we lose the opportunity to increase the quality of healthcare systems.
The key areas I see as crucial are, increased security measures regarding digital solutions, increased spending on data protection, and the opportunity for startups to create new data analysis tools.
Neringa Šeperienė is a co-founder and CEO of BrachyDOSE. She is a PhD in materials engineering and medical physicist. She is devoted to international projects dedicated to cancer patients' treatment quality control and safety.